Coming home on the Gautrain earlier in January, I got stuck into Psalm 63, slowly reading and praying over each verse. And I spent a whole bunch of time reflecting and pondering the first verse:
“You God are my God, earnestly I seek You.”
This is what I wrote in my journal: “May this be true in my life. May I seek you earnestly, fervently, passionately,joyfully, consistently.”
This is my verse for 2017! And as we prayed and sang during the first few practices this year, our focus was this: we will earnestly, fervently, passionately, joyfully, consistently seek God in all we do. And I can’t wait to see God come and work in this music of ours this year. I know He will – because He always does.
We took a nice break after carols last year, and before we knew it we’d booked out our first 3 months of 2017, leading up to our USA trip at the end of March. And so very suddenly we found ourselves up early one Sunday morning for the first gig of the year.
Our first stop was at a new church for us, the beautiful St Ninians Family Church in Parkhurst. St Ninians, according to my brief research via Wikipedia, was a missionary to the Picts in the 8th century. How this church came to be named after him, I didn’t find out.
We played songs from our Rock of Ages Album, and I gave the Never Again talk – our usual plan when we visit a church for the first time. we did change things up a little though – we’ve added “I Will Sing” to the set, with more of a rock flavour than we always did it in the past. We also put “God is Good” back into the set, which we covered on the album of course.
Ah, this was a special service – a mixed congregation; there were oldies towards the back, singing along to the hymns, young adults and middle aged scattered throughout, and a lovely group of children up front who danced and sang and clapped enthusiastically with abandon!
A few things stuck out to us – firstly, the community joining in prayer for a congregation member who was struggling. As they laid hands and prayed over this brother, there was a real sense of the power of a community. This was a family, praying together for one of their own. Isn’t that what church is all about?
And secondly, when we were done with the benediction, getting ready for a good old cup of tea in the hall, something wonderful happened. Normally there is a mad rush for the door after the benediction, with people in a rush to get to their cars or get to the biscuits! But as we put our instruments down, the sanctuary went into a hushed silence, and the congregation as one lowered their heads and spent a few minutes in prayer, before slowly filtering out one by one.
This had a huge impact on us – we all mentioned it during practise the next time we met up. That sense of devotion and intimacy, spending time reflecting and praying about the message just heard and the songs just sung – what a meaningful way to end a service.
Thank you St Ninians for teaching us a valuable lesson – the power of pausing and taking in the Word.
We’re looking forward to being back later in the year, possibly to run a workshop for the worship team.
We’ve been to Elsburg a few times over the years, and so we weren’t too sure what songs to choose for our visit on 29 Jan. Normally we do our own songs, telling stories and sharing Scriptures as we go. But as we thought and prayed about this service, we all felt the same thing: we want to sing with the people of Elsburg Methodist.
That was what stuck with us after our last few visits to this church – this congregation sings! They really sing from the heart, loud and proud. And so we knew – instead of playing our songs, we would sing some well known congregational songs, and just lift up His name as one family.
We kicked things off with Walking With the King, just to get going! And then we worshipped together. May We Be a Shining Light, Ons Koning Kom, Beautiful One, Majesty. The people drowned out the band, and I thought, this is what life is all about. I remember in the middle of Majesty just realizing, I’d take this moment over anything! Give me a time of heartfelt, genuine affectionate worship any day.
Rich then shared the story behind his song Come Unto Me – a long time favourite. Whenever we play that song people come to us and say “That ‘My Child’ song, that was wonderful!” And so Rich’s story behind the lyrics was powerful and meaningful, and a good few tears were shed all around as people heard just how precious they are in God’s eyes.
We ended with another one to sing together – How Great is our God, and after the Benediction Barbara got us to sing it again. What an end to an emotional service!
And so we head into Feb, busy as ever, and getting closer and closer to out trip to USA! Hope to see you guys at one of these events:
5 Feb: Emseni Methodist 09:00
12 Feb: Aldersgate Methodist 07:45, 09:30
19 Feb: Turning Point Springs 18:00
5 March: St Francis in the Forest, 9:00
I’ll also be playing at these services with my new solo album:
Fri 24 Feb: BIC Whitehouse Benoni 06:30
Sat 4 March: New Beginnings Men’s Fellowship 08:00
Sat 11 March: Alberton Methodist breakfast 07:00
Sun 12 March: Witfield Methodist, 08:0
Thanks for all the support over the years everyone – can you believe this is the 8th year that we’ve been doing what we do! God is faithful, and He is wonderful.